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July 17, 2007

Columbia, SC – South Carolina head coach Dave Odom announced today 2007 South Carolina Mr. Basketball Mike Holmes has been admitted to South Carolina and will play basketball for the Gamecocks this season.

“This has been a long process, but a fair one. I’m really proud of Michael and the way he handled himself through the process. Many other signees might have become discouraged, but Michael never wavered nor did his family and many other supporters from Lee County,” said Odom. “Michael’s reward is his admission to South Carolina and the chance to grow as a person, earn a meaningful degree and help our basketball program compete for a championship.”

Holmes averaged 25 ppg and 13 rpg his senior year and 17 ppg, 12 rpg, and 4 bpg as a junior playing for Coach Laverne Knox. He was anked in the top 150 prospects nationally by and led Lee Central to back-to-back state titles his junior and senior years. He scored 20 points in the victory over Southside in the South Carolina State Championship game his senior year where he earned MVP honors. A three-time All-Conference player, he attended the Nike All-American Camp.

“My goal off the court is to graduate and get my degree. My goal on the court is to be the best player I can be,” said Holmes. “I have been waiting for this opportunity for the longest time. I thought I might be here in June and I still had my bags packed because I was so ready. It is close by home, I want to help the basketball program and watch them continue to build. I want kids after me to want to come here – I want to keep the talent in this state.”

Holmes added:

What excites you the most about being at South Carolina?
“Just being around Coach Odom. He keeps a smile on my face and he always says positive things. I can’t wait to play for him. I really enjoyed myself on my recruiting trip.”

What kind of a step do you think it will be from high school to college?
“The environment will be different. There are so many more kids in college – I only had 600 or 700 kids in my high school. It will be a tough transition with weights, classes, tutors – everything. It will be hard, but I will make the best of it.”

Did you ever feel like there was a time this might not happen?
“At one point since I didn’t get in summer school, I told my mom `I don’t think I will get in school.’. She told me to keep praying and that is what I did. I just kept the faith. I have to thank my mom and my grandma for having faith in me all along.”

Why are you excited to play at USC?
“To be honest, I wanted to stay close to my little son. I didn’t want to go too far. At high school I really enjoyed playing on their floor. I got comfortable playing on the Colonial Center floor – I’ve played there four years in a row and we won the state title twice. I love the Gamecocks fans. The fans are supportive – I know a lot of fans where I live. My next-door neighbor is a die-hard fan and he was always talking about me going to South Carolina. I’m glad I chose to be a Gamecock.”